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British spas in eighteenth-century medicine and literature
Author: Sophie Vasset

In the medical world of eighteenth-century Britain, doctors, caregivers and relief-seeking patients considered mineral waters a valuable treatment alongside drugs and other forms of therapy. Although the pre-eminence of Bath cannot be denied, this book offers to widen the scope of the culture of water-taking and examines the great variety of watering places, spas and wells in eighteenth-century British medicine and literature. It offers to veer away from a glamorous image of Georgian Bath refinement and elegant sociability to give a more ambivalent and diverse description of watering places in the long eighteenth century. The book starts by reasserting the centrality of sickness in spa culture, and goes on to examine the dangers of mineral water treatment. The notion of ‘murky waters’ constitutes a closely followed thread in the five chapters that evolve in concentric circles, from sick bodies to financial structures. The idea of ‘murkiness’ is an invitation to consider the material and metaphorical aspect of mineral waters, and disassociate them from ideas of cleanliness, transparency, well-being and refinement that twenty-first-century readers spontaneously associate with spas. At the crossroads between medical history, literary studies and cultural studies, this study delves into a great variety of primary sources, probing into the academic medical discourse on the mineral components of British wells, as well as the multiple forms of literature associated with spas (miscellanies, libels and lampoons, songs, travel narratives, periodicals and novels) to examine the representation of spas in eighteenth-century British culture.

Open Access (free)
Health as moral economy in the long nineteenth century
Christopher Hamlin

foundation for the social history of health. Health as moral economy The protests I have alluded to are equally moral and economic expressions (they involve assertions of obligation and appeals for resources to relieve). For my period and for Britain, E. P. Thompson's concept of ‘moral economy’ is a good starting point. Thompson was seeking to explain so-called ‘bread riots’ of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries – episodes in which crowds, largely led by women, acted against purveyors who had raised the prices of

in Progress and pathology
Chris Pearson

agents on soldiers’ minds and bodies. The camp’s anxiety-provoking medical geographies are overlooked within nineteenth-century French medical history and global environmental histories of health.5 This chapter aims to shed light on them. Despite worries over the camp’s potentially harmful environment, the creation of Châlons Camp heralded the beginning of the military narrative that identified supposedly empty and worthless land as ideal for militarization. Tapping into the dominant expert views that this part of Champagne was economically insignificant, Napoleon and

in Mobilizing nature
Open Access (free)
Balancing the self in the twentieth century
Mark Jackson and Martin D. Moore

. Through its investigations into the diverse life of ‘balance’, therefore, the volume not only contributes to the cultural history of an everyday concept, but also generates insights into the history of health governance and subjectivity and into the close connections between medicine, politics and the regulation of social life. Balancing acts In her address to the 61st World Health Assembly in May 2008, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Margaret Chan, concluded her analysis of current threats to

in Balancing the self
New narratives on health, care and citizenship in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries

This edited volume offers the first comprehensive historical overview of the Belgian medical field in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Its chapters develop narratives that go beyond traditional representations of medicine in national overviews, which have focused mostly on state–profession interactions. Instead, the chapters bring more complex histories of health, care and citizenship. These new histories explore the relation between medicine and a variety of sociopolitical and cultural views and realities, treating themes such as gender, religion, disability, media, colonialism, education and social activism. The novelty of the book lies in its thorough attention to the (too often little studied) second half of the twentieth century and to the multiplicity of actors, places and media involved in the medical field. In assembling a variety of new scholarship, the book also makes a contribution to ‘decentring’ the European historiography of medicine by adding the perspective of a particular country – Belgium – to the literature.

Open Access (free)
Benoît Majerus and Joris Vandendriessche

In an era of transnational and global historiography, reflecting on the national frames of writing medical history remains a necessary endeavour. On the one hand, it helps historians to interrogate the metanarratives they use in writing about the medical past, many of which still focus on interactions between physicians and the state and stem from an older social historiography of medicine. By widening their gaze to a history of (health) care, historians may bring a broader range of actors and influences into the limelight. On the other hand, questioning national frames of writing history also shows the complex stratification of local practices, international circulation of scientific knowledge and national structures. Medical histories of modern Belgium therefore consist above all of a variety of entanglements taking place both in Belgium and beyond.

in Medical histories of Belgium
Meyer Jessica

This afterword considers the significance of medical history in period dramas in the current context of the COVID-19 global pandemic. It considers the popularity of period drama as a source of entertainment and escapism, examining the extent to which such dramas include medical storylines. It then goes on to explore the significance of particular themes in medical history, such as gender, patient/practitioner power relationships, and patient voice, particularly as they relate to the chapters in this collection. In doing so it demonstrates how such analyses bridge the gap between academic histories of medicine and popular public discourse, furthering effective public communication and dissemination of scholarship. The afterword then goes on to examine the particularities of the small screen as a medium for engaging with the history of medicine, considering the advantages and disadvantages in relation to films and written fiction. It explores the limitations of dramatising or fictionalising the past, particularly as it pertains to histories of health and medicine. Locating this debate in the current pandemic context, it argues that medicine and caregiving in period television dramas root escapist fictional narratives in the embodied reality of lived experience.

in Diagnosing history
Space, identity and power

This volume aims to disclose the political, social and cultural factors that influenced the sanitary measures against epidemics developed in the Mediterranean during the long nineteenth century. The contributions to the book provide new interdisciplinary insights to the booming field of ‘quarantine studies’ through a systematic use of the analytic categories of space, identity and power. The ultimate goal is to show the multidimensional nature of quarantine, the intimate links that sanitary administrations and institutions had with the territorial organization of states, international trade, the construction of national, colonial, religious and professional identities or the configuration of political regimes. The circum-Mediterranean geographical spread of the case studies contained in this volume illuminates the similarities and differences around and across this sea, on the southern and northern shores, in Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Italian, English and French-speaking domains. At the same time, it is highly interested in engaging in the global English-speaking community, offering a wide range of terms, sources, bibliography, interpretative tools and views produced and elaborated in various Mediterranean countries. The historical approach will be useful to recognize the secular tensions that still lie behind present-day issues such as the return of epidemics or the global flows of migrants and refugees.

Abstract only
Quarantine and professional identity in mid nineteenth-century Britain
Lisa Rosner

Harrison, Contagion: How Commerce Has Spread Disease, New Haven, Yale University Press, 2012, 106. 2 Mark Harrison, ‘A global perspective: reframing the history of health, medicine, and disease’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine 89, 2015, 651. 3 See the discussion of Harrison’s ‘A global perspective’ by Alison Bashford, ‘Bioscapes: gendering the global history of medicine’, J.R. McNeil, ‘Harrison, globalization, and the history of health, medicine, and disease’, and Kavia Sivramakrishnan, ‘Global histories of health, disease, and medicine from a “zig

in Mediterranean Quarantines, 1750–1914
Bodies and environments in Italy and England

This book explores whether early modern people cared about their health, and what did it mean to lead a healthy life in Italy and England. According to the Galenic-Hippocratic tradition, 'preservative' medicine was one of the three central pillars of the physician's art. Through a range of textual evidence, images and material artefacts, the book documents the profound impact which ideas about healthy living had on daily practices as well as on intellectual life and the material world in Italy and England. Staying healthy and health conservation was understood as depending on the careful management of the six 'Non-Naturals': the air one breathed, food and drink, excretions, sleep, exercise and repose, and the 'passions of the soul'. The book provides fresh evidence about the centrality of the Non-Naturals in relation to groups whose health has not yet been investigated in works about prevention: babies, women and convalescents. Pregnancy constituted a frequent physical state for many women of the early modern European aristocracy. The emphasis on motion and rest, cleansing the body, and improving the mental and spiritual states made a difference for the aristocratic woman's success in the trade of frequent pregnancy and childbirth. Preventive advice was not undifferentiated, nor simply articulated by individual complexion. Examining the roles of the Non-Naturals, the book provides a more holistic view of convalescent care. It also deals with the paradoxical nature of perceptions about the Neapolitan environment and the way in which its airs were seen to affect human bodies and health.